Note: If using Outlook click the above bar where it says “Click to download photos”  This issue has many photos so it may take a couple of extra minutes to download. 

  We love the work of James Ozburn! Each panel on this gourd represents the relationship between the horse and
his partner, the cowboy. 
In This Issue: This month we are honoured to present James Ozburn, a self-taught artist who hails from the Pacific Northwest. Oz's wood-burning pens seem to take on a life of their own once placed against the shell of a gourd. His advice on wood burning is smart and sound and will be of great interest to both the novice and the experienced. Please welcome Oz…this man has the personality and interests that draw people in like a moth to a flame.  

The rim gives this piece an interesting and professional finish. The choice of the rugged, rope-like material is very appropriate to the subject matter.
In the gourd garden young gourds are beginning to develop. Most of them will grow into art materials but if you have an abundance, you may want to pick a few and use them as a delicacy at the dinner table. In this timely article we will talk about gourds in cooking and will include links to recipes that will entice both your friends and family to the table.
Oz’s love of detail is evident here. This miniature saddle with its tiny lasso is absolutely perfect and really makes this western inspired gourd complete.
Hot July weather - whew! Just what we need! In this month's Grow Report pruning will be added to the list of things to do. Plus a warning (and description) of that deadly fungus: powdery mildew. 
Reminder: The summer hours of Northern Dipper will be displayed on the main page of the website up in the right hand corner. Check it out before heading out to the farm. 

James "Oz" Ozburn
Gleaning Success Through Trial & Error 
'Horses' - a ribbon winner for Oz from the Kitsap Wood Carvers Show in Washington State. 

"I was introduced to wood burning when I was a 12 years old Boy Scout. It was not until 3 years ago however, that I discovered gourds. I was on the Internet looking for wood burning tips for my woodburning pen and I came across a website that had a link for "Other Pyrography." Out of curiosity I clicked and lo and behold, a whole new world opened up to me. There before me were five wood burned gourds and I was immediately intrigued. For the next few weeks I spent every free moment doing research and was amazed at what I found. It was apparent that I had better get some gourds to experiment with and I bought 3 kettles and 3 bottle gourds. The rest is now history – I was and still am hooked!"



  Wood burned portrait of Oz's daughter Sara. 

"Gourds were fascinating to me because unlike wood they are round and don't have knots or grain lines. My first gourd took a week of planning, and although it felt as though I was experimenting, the finished project turned out just the way I had envisioned it. The Rhino gourd was born and my wife, who was a little sceptical at first, was in total awe. She took it to work the next day and showed it off to her co-workers. Turned out they were in awe too and the word spread. From that point onward, all of my gourds have sold strictly by word of mouth or through my website. I do not exhibit at shows or festivals."

Oz is involved with the Washington State Gourd Society and has been elected to run their website for the next two years. He also participates in events such as the travelling gourd, pictured above. Oz’s contribution to the travelling gourd included symbols which are reflective of WA State...the space needle, the Seattle Mariners and of course, salmon.

Interestingly enough Oz does not really consider his work as art. “I have not been trained as an artist and basically have always worked with wood. I love making furniture and will see something at a store that I like. I have always said that I can build it cheaper and more customized to meet my needs. I have filled my house with entertainment centres, end tables, kitchen tables, benches, head-boards, shelves, CD racks and holders, chairs, towels racks, monitor stands and reptile enclosures. Everything I have learned about wood and wood burning, I have learned by trial and error over the last 32 years."



Oz’s work is varied and we were curious as to where he gets his ideas. “Everywhere” he replied; “I work with Photoshop and combine pieces, fragments, and clippings until I come up with something I can work with on a gourd. In addition almost 85% of my gourds have been commissioned pieces, so I work with what my customer want." He adds that he tries to add a twist to the theme to make it into a more unique 'one of a kind' piece.
He continued to explain, "There is a personal story behind every one of those gourds and I think that right there, is what gives me oodles of satisfaction. I love creating a custom gourd - the process of working up an idea and planning on how it will fit onto the gourd. It’s cool watching it come to life, and the best part is delivering the finished gourd to the customer. I receive many comments; one being "Wow, that is way better than I was hoping for." 

A work in progress
One thing we have always been curious about is the lack of men that are involved in gourd art. We thought we would put the question to Oz to see if perhaps he may have an answer for us. He did not disappoint and began with, “Now that is a loaded question. Out of the 64 current members of the WSGS, there are only eight men that actually work on gourds including myself. I think that woman possess a gene that engages them to be more "crafty" then men. Women are always trying to find new ways to decorate and improve things. From talking to women, it was always a friend or family member or a class that got them interested in gourding."
"Now I am not a sports nut so I'm not glued to the TV on the weekends. Maybe it's just me but I really enjoy building things. My time is spent working on all of my side projects.” 
"One of my other self-taught hobbies is creating  websites. Besides my 
website I have created the
( WA State Gourd Society) website and website. This site was for a fellow gourder here in Washington State." 
"Some of my other hobbies include fixing computers, building furniture, gourds, driving my RC-Cars, camping in the summer, hunting and fishing in the fall. Wow, when I put it down in writing I just realized why I am so busy all the time!"
Oz joined the Army at 20 years old and was stationed in Heidelberg Germany for four years. This is where he met his wife Susan; they have been together 22 years now. They were in Germany when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and any free time was spent touring and sight- seeing throughout Europe.
Oz says “I took full advantage of living in Europe for four years. To have all that history at your fingertips…it is an incredible experience. My thing was looking at all the castles and my wife enjoyed looking at all the old churches - American churches have nothing on European churches.”  
When Oz got out of the Army he and Susan came back Bremerton, Oz's childhood town. Oz works as a Government Contractor for the Navy. “I am a CAD Engineer, so I get to draw pictures all day long. Now tell me – how great is that!” 
To view Oz's website click here. (Oz's website is very good. It shows the progress of each piece from the first sketch lines to the finished project. Check out his knotwork too. It is great.)
Here is a link on building a good ventilation system. This system was created by Ed McAuley of Singing Dog Studios in Peterborough, Ontario and when it is on, there is not a trace of smoke or smell.
Thank you Oz for this article.  We love your work , your composition is lovely and your imagination lively.  Keep in touch.  Carolyn and Linda

Summertime Cooking
With Green Gourds 
An easy and quick stir-fry using young gourds.
At this time of year you may want to consider using some of the young gourds on the vine for cooking. Young gourds are very similar to zucchini in the fact that they have a bitter green skin, a pale creamy inside and have been described as having a bland-tasting flesh. The beauty of cooking with such a fruit is that it picks up the flavour of spices and herbs used in the recipe. Young gourds can be used in stir-fries, spaghetti sauces, and casseroles and can also be sliced in half and baked just like you would do with a squash.


Gourds originated in southern Asia and Africa, and to celebrate this fact, we are including a couple of links into spicy Asian/Indian recipes. We will also include a link into a couple of recipes from the recipe book “Cucumbers, Melons and Gourds From Seed To Supper” I have tried the UPO Shrimp Soup and it is very good. (I subsituted the UPO gourd with Bottle and Snake gourds.) 
For the link into the recipes from “Cucumbers, Melons & Gourds From Seed To Supper" click here.  
In this recipe tamarind juice can be found in Asian speciality stores. Otherwise it can be substituted with lime juice or white vinegar.
For an Indian recipe using fryed Bottle gourd in a curried yogurt base click here. Mmm, delicious!

The Gourd Grow Report # 4

 In July young gourds will grow rapidly.
July brings hot weather and hundreds of gourd flowers just waiting to be pollinated. The cucumber beetles will still be an unwelcome visitor in the gourd patch but with your help, will start decreasing in numbers by the end of the month. On the horizon powdery mildew may make an appearance, but after reading this grow report you will know what to look for and how to deal with it. Last but not least pruning may be in order once your vines get to be 8-10 feet long. It is a simple job once you figure out what part of the plant to prune.
Powdery mildew Carried by the wind the spore of this fungus will appear as small whitish-grey powdery spots on the leaves of the gourd plant. Once it gets hold it will cover the plant and eventually kill it so it must be dealt with as soon as it is spotted.
If your plants contract powdery mildew, cut off the infected leaves and destroy. For a natural approach in dealing with this problem Ginger Summit recommends using 2 teaspoons of baking soda & 2 teaspoons of lightweight horticultural spray oil mixed with 1 gallon of water. Spray both sides of the leaves well. For other methods visit your local nursery who will be able to recommend an appropiate product. 
Pruning This month, if the weather is hot, the vines will grow rapidly. Once the main vine reaches 8-10 feet it is time to trim it back using a small utility knife. This is necessary as you want the strength of the plant to go into the laterals (side vines) where the female flowers and gourds sit. 
Keep your plants well watered during the hot season using a trickle hose. Try not to get the leaves wet. Apply a fertilizer to encourage blooming and most importantly get out there and hand pollinate. Your efforts will be rewarded with a good gourd crop.
For additional tips on growing gourds check out the Northern Dipper Gourd Growing Guide here.   

Reader's Corner  
This collection of embroidered gourds is the work of the HOG’s (Happy Ontario Gourders) Embroidery on gourds opens the doors for all types of colourful, vibrant designs.
 Tutorials Wanted!

One thing we have learned at Northern Dipper is that there is a wealth of talent amongst our readership. In light of this we would like to reach out and ask if anyone would have a tutorial that they would like to share with others. There would be no monetary reward but you would receive the appreciation of thousands of gourders from around the globe. If you do have a special project or technique that you would like to contribute please email us at

Dear Carolyn'

Hi ND,

I think I have a problem. The small gourds on my vines are turning brown and falling off. What am I doing wrong?

John Jefferson


Hi John,

These pepos or baby gourds have not been pollinated when they were in the flowering stage. Get out there at night with your paintbrush and give those female flowers a good dose of pollen. This should solve your problem. Let me know how you make out.

Hello Northern Dipper, 
I recently saw some fine examples of chip carving at a spring craft show. I would like to try it but have no idea where to get the tools. Do you sell them? If not do you know who does?
Thank you,

Rhoda Patterson – Halifax, Nova Scotia

Hi Rhoda,
Chip carving is a beautiful art form where portions of the outside shell of the gourd are carved out creating a design or pattern. The tools you need are called gouges and you can get them at Lee Valley tools. Here is the link...,41504 

You may be interested in a book we sell called the ‘Complete Book of Gourd Carving’ by Jim Widess and Ginger Summit. It covers all forms of carving including inlay techniques, relief carving and of course, chip carving. It includes the work of 92 artists and 625 photographs plus step-by-step photographic instructions. For details click here.

Here are some funnel-type clouds that Carolyn and Linda saw
while driving along the highway on their way home.
Who's In There?
Linda and Carolyn's pup Jade is having a curious moment.  Jade is Northern Dipper's official greeter and she loves visitors.
NEXT ISSUE:  Next month we are happy to introduce Karen Goodfellow, a woman who took a risk to follow her dreams. After 19 years in the corporate world, Karen packed up her things and moved from Canada to Colorado. She discovered gourds while working as an art teacher in Colorado Springs, and has been experimenting with different techniques since. Through her gourd art, paintings and masks, we will witness Karen's spiritual journey and will see that when one door closes, many more open. 
August will be vacation time for the gourd growers in the crowd. We will touch on a couple of points but for the most part your work will be done for a few weeks. The month of July however get out there every night and pollinate. It will be essential for the end result - lots of gourds!
To close we bring you this art related segment. It is not gourd related but it is interesting. Many of us love photography and with the introduction of digital cameras, Polaroids are just a memory. Jamie Livingston was a big fan of the Polaroid and over the course of 18 years, he would take one photo a day. No retakes, no staging, these photos were reflective of his daily activities with friends and in his community.
These photos were brought to the public eye by Hugh Crawford, who is a photographer himself. Following are two links: one into Jamie Livingston’s life and the next, into some of Hugh Crawford’s work.                                               
         See you next month, keep well...
Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond
© Northern Dipper 2008

Back issues of our newsletter Gourd Fever are available at

Volume 4, Number 42 


In this Issue: 
James "Oz" Ozburn - The Wood Burning Wizard Of Washington State
Cooking With Gourds - Taking Your Art To The Kitchen 
Tis The Season For Powdery Mildew - What To Look For?
Dear Carolyn! PLUS Reader's Corner
Gourd Sightings & Trivia  

Drumming Rules!
 Ian Johnson sent in these photos of the
drums that he makes and plays.  
Carolyn and Ian have a lot of
fun exchanging ideas about drum making techniques and drumming.
This is a drum that Carolyn made for her daughter’s boyfriend. The blue borders at
the bottom are inlace, the black design is
carved out & painted.
To view speciality drum gourds click here.
For drum skins, rings and cord click here.
 For a great resource book on drums click here. 

  Oz holding his winning ribbons from the Kitsap Wood Carvers Show. The "Horses" gourd (pictured on the left) won "Best of Division" in wood burning and the "Lionfish" gourd won "Judges Choice" in wood burning. To learn more about Kitsap County Wood Carvers click here. 
Panel 2 in 'Horses Gourd'
Check out the carved boot on the top. That is a very original handle and once again is perfect with the subject matter.
These horseshoes are making me feel lucky!
Oz has captured the flow of water and fin in this prize-winning gourd. 

Oz's first wood burned gourd.
The Rhino gourd and the Lionfish gourd
were both entered in the Puyallup Fair in western Washington. They didn't have a category for gourds so Oz entered the Rhino gourd under Table Centre Pieces and took home a ribbon for "Reserve Grand Champion" 
 Oz lightly sketches out his design on the gourd and then proceeds to burn in the basic shape. Shading and detail are added last.

The Bull Rider was made for a friend who does the rodeo thing. Oz carved out the back-ground around the design to makes it jump.

Quilicene Country Gourd

This was a commissioned piece and was taken from a photo. This scene is someone’s home located on top of a mountain.

Advice To New Gourders 
Once you tackle your first gourd you will be addicted. Take your time and plan out your design. There have been times that I drew 7 or 8 different designs on a gourd before it finally looked right to me. You can erase the pencil marks - you can't erase burn lines. Also, know when to stop, by this I mean every so often put the gourd down and take a look at it and evaluate. Ask yourself “Is that enough or does
it need something else?”
Advice On The Art of Wood Burning 
1. Take your time while burning, I have seen to many people rush while burning and you can see it in their work. Choppy and jagged lines just don't look good. Let the wood burner do the work and your project will come out really nice.
2.  Clean the tips with 220 grit sandpaper often while burning, the carbon build up on the tip will make your line work choppy and not smooth.
3.  You need a good light source while burning so you can evaluate the line thickness and depth of your line work.
4.  Use a good sealer when you’re finished, I use Minwax Polyurethane. Once you break the skin of the gourd it needs to be sealed, especially if you live in a humid environment.
5. ALWAYS wear a mask when sanding or cutting into a gourd. Some of that gourd mould is still in the shell after cleaning, and as we all know, mould is harmful to the health. If you can't burn outside find a way to vent the smoke outside. Never burn inside a room that has no air circulation.   
6. Build yourself a light box so you can take really nice pictures of your gourds. I built one for under $50. Look at this link here
If you have a nice camera learn how to use
the macro setting so you can take good
close up pictures.
  Lizard Girl Gourd  

25% off - PyroPaper
for wood burners
PyroPaper is an essential tool for burners
that allow the artist to accurately and easily transfer a design to a gourd (or wood)
 using a woodburner.
25% off -
PyroPaper with a Design
Designs are ready for you to cut out and wood burn directly onto your gourds. Excellent variety of subjects including butterflies,
South-western borders, animals and moths.
40% off - Razertip Tips
In-stock only, limited supplies available. To view the PyroPaper & Razortip tips click here.

The Gourd Grow Report
Healthy Vines
Powdery Mildew
This vine was destroyed by powdery mildew.
To prune make a clean cut with your
knife.  If you are unsure as to what to
cut just start at the base of the plant and
follow the main vine up using your hands.

 Reader's Corner
This group, the HOG's, get together once
a month for a few hours of gourding and 
fun. There is usually a theme and a flurry of techniques and ideas are shared. In June 
the 'sty' meeting was at Debby Russell’s house
in Simcoe, Ontario.
From the left going around the table: In the
blue T-shirt, Christine, Bonnie, Lois and Mary.
Debbie is a wonderful hostess. Here
everyone was treated to a fantastic lunch
and strawberry shortcake.
Debbie Russell
To learn more about Debbie and her
extraordinary gourd art click here. Click on Issue 37 once in.
Mary Ann Moran sent in this photo of this
little wren at home in its new gourd house.
As Mary Ann can attest having a bird nest outside a window provides hours of entertainment for both people and cats
alike. It's a good way for kids to learn about nature too. Thanks Mary Ann - this little guy looks like one happy bird.

Gourd Trivia 

Did You Know... 

 Gourd skins were used to replace missing
parts of skull back in the Neolithic times as
part of primitive surgery. There is evidence that artificial bones were made from very
fine gold sheet and gourd skins, which were inserted in the skull under the skin or to
cover the hole left by the operation.

Just Nails!
This nail art is very cool. What a talent to reproduce the Masters with nails.
Thanks Lois Dean for sending this in.
We love your new work Lois-
send us some photos. We would all love to see what you've been up to. PG

 Designed & Published by
Pam Grossi
1535 Myrtle Ave
Victoria, BC, V8R 2Z7

 Northern Dipper Farm
5376 County Rd 56, RR # 2
Cookstown, Ont, L0L 1L0
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Northern Dipper Farm - 5376 County Road 56, RR2, Cookstown, Ontario, L0L 1L0, Canada